A Forgotten Childhood Practice

Sometimes you need it all

to start over again,

a new earth.

So you take, no, receive

one breath.

Then you remember,

this is the stream

of gratitude

that bathed us all

in the beginning.


The scentless nectar

that sweetens the rose

and desert sage alike,

invisible sap

that ripens all our faces

to ochre, mahogany,

ginger and fire.


No vow, no sacrifice required.

Just keep pouring the ghee

of attention

into the flame of your body.

What thrills distant stars?

The jolt of coming Om

to rest in your heart.

Which is surely what you relished

when you were very young,

your sadhana was being

just as you are,

you offered your flesh

into your flesh,

and woke up the sun.

Sometimes you need it all

to begin again.

So you listen and breathe,

take, no, receive,


There now, it's done,

and the world is new.



Photo by Laurent Berthier



     Verse from my book, 'Savor Eternity,' collage by Rashani Réa


Those who are embodied need no concept of "embodiment." Let us meditate in the body, through the body, dissolving the duality of consciousness and matter. Taste the glory of this human physiology, whose edgeless flame trembles on the wick of the sushumna nadi. Let the Milky Way pour down our spine with every breath. Each proton in an atom of our bone is threaded to its native star. Each cell of our flesh is a well of Transcendental Consciousness, irradiating the cosmos. We know that the neurons in this brain, this heart, this solar plexus, are not merely conductors of consciousness, but are made out of consciousness, as the shape of a wave is made out of the formless sea. And we know the Truth about God and Flesh not by thinking, but by its flavor. Why else would the Hebrew poet sing, "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34)? Why else would Christ invite us to the banquet, saying, "Take, eat, this is my body (Luke 22)?

Photo by Kristy Thompson


"Mā śucaḥ: don't worry." 
~Krishna, Bhagavad Gita 18
"Mé merimnaté: don't worry." 
~Jesus, Sermon on the Mount

Why all this need to get out

of your comfort zone?

That's impossible.

The whole cosmos is a comfort zone.

Stars and planets never veer

from their orbits and spheres.

Yet they’re not complacent about it.

They tremble through a continuum

of ecstasy, ever-amazed

that they don’t collide.

The daffodil returns to its seed,

only to sprout again, content

in bulb, leaf, or blossom,

never complaining,

"I’m too comfortable here!"

We humans are the only whiners

in the universe,

which to all other creatures

is a constant ceremony of intoxication,

ever-recurring yet never the same.

Galaxies, flowers, electrons,

even panthers dance in their zone.

Why doesn't your body remember

that comfort of the wild,

ambling down its atavistic path,

easy in fang, feral in pleasure?

The only thing in heaven and earth

that isn’t comfortable

is your mind.

Don't expand your comfort zone.

Expand your awareness.

Then you’ll comprehend

how full of miracles is one

square inch of black loam,

the adventure of Being

right where you are.

How you’re always hanging

without a rope over the cliff

of this moment, about to drop

a thousand feet into

another Now.

Don't worry.

You're caught and kept.

The Comforter enfolds you.



Photo: NASA Hubble telescope


Take refuge in this moment.
One lightning bolt of wonder
through the belly of a child
incinerates ten thousand
books of philosophy.
The speeches of politicians
burn to tasteless ash
in the diamond eye of a lover.
There is no war in this meadow.
A wild hyacinth springs
from the manure pile, fragrant
with the exhalation of worms.
Angels no longer care if we
believe in them or not.
They yearn to be born on earth
for one cool April morning
just to watch a poppy burst open.
But it's never enough, is it?
Soon they want to be reborn
in Winter, just to take
their mittens off and feel
snowflakes melting in the blush
of raw warm palms.
The Soul is the nectar
of the senses. Haven't we
been fools not to taste God,
touch God, smell God's scent,
discern God's music in the silence
of the heart? Haven't we
been fools not to
God's breath through every atom
of this brief bewildered
impeccable body?

Who Drove Majnoon Crazy?


There is a space beyond

this need for wings,

or the wings inside wings.

Stop arriving. 

Just know you are 

always here.

Through a broken fence

the plum branch has been reaching

all Winter for the blossom

it already held. 

Once known, the fragrance 

does not need the petal.

Majnoon went mad in the forest

imagining that the daughter

of the King was someone

other than his own soul.

This poem was painted

with the light of the full moon

on the bone ceiling of my emptiness.

If you know who drove

Majnoon crazy,

you are truly my Friend!



September now.

I hear petals weeping,

singed with their own fire.
I hear seeds grieving lost goldenrod
and mountains gliding home on clouds.
I still follow the glistening pilgrimage

of that old summer snail

across the hosta leaf.

But I gave up world sorrow
for the hidden pain of love,
gave up charity and pity to gaze

into your face, where I find everyone.
With a single inhalation,

I bind and heal the wounds of

rich and poor, oppressor and victim alike.

My brain is busy with forgiveness.

Heart murmurs of gratitude in

both chambers, the empty one susurrates

“thank you” to the one that pours, 

then offers back the ancient gift 

of grandmother’s blood.

My temple is the ruined garden,
my alter the sky.
We hold satsang in the wetlands,
the frogs, blackbirds, and I.
When in doubt, I take off my shoes

and walk barefoot in wet grass

at midnight, un-naming the stars.

There’s really no other way

to get through this miracle.

It’s not the world that makes us suffer,

friend, but our judgments about it.
And surely, the last judgment
is the silence of a white chrysanthemum
bursting under the Autumn moon.
This is the Gospel of Astonishment.


With the tincture
of awareness
moisten the soft
ragged cloth
of this breath
to polish the grail
of your heart
until the golden
emptiness itself
becomes wine.
Thirst for this thirst
and drink.
There is plenty.
Be quenched
by yearning.
Photo by Kristy Thompson



You didn’t come to this planet

to worship a pair of sandals

or a white robe.

You didn’t come to this planet

to be for the party of the left

or the party of the right,

to be a Christian or a Muslim,

a Black or a White.

You did not come here

to get angry with reflections

in a mirror,

or get drunk on disasters

that never quite happen.

You came to be dumbfounded

by a dust mote,

to be torn in pieces

by laughter and pain,

then made One

by the tang of a berry

on your wild tongue.

Why waste another moment

arguing for or against,

when you could slip back

on a soft-as-moonlight 

beam of breath into

the radiance you are?

Keep (A Poem from 'Wounded Bud')

Transmute the pollen of sexual yearning
to golden soul honey.

Make flowers luminous and cause
all gardens to share one light.

Balance the world on your hips and
move them the way cocoa beans ferment.

Be how the tongue gets sweet without sugar.
How all the Gopis love the same Bridegroom

yet each kisses him chastely, in her own
unique faithfulness.

How heaven bubbles over into earth,
the sap fused with its petal.

On the borderline between your body and its aura
there's a marketplace for atoms of delight.

The contraband is innocence, the price, surrender.
Jesus was a bee-keeper, Mary a maker of mead.

So you should keep this secret
and store up radiance.


 Gospel of Thomas Coptic Text

"Jesus said: The person who drinks from my mouth will become like me, and I will become that person. The hidden things will be revealed." ~Gospel of Thomas, 108

"Miracles" are natural phenomena occurring in energy at higher rates of vibration, energy levels which physicists have simply not yet mathematically described. When we say "vibrations of energy," what is the energy that vibrates? It isn't any "God particle," any "thing" that could ever be perceived by Consciousness, because it is Consciousness itself.

Our culture will be transformed, and the curriculum we teach our children in schools will be utterly changed, when physicists finally learn to include Consciousness in the equations they use to describe the world. Until then, the masses of humanity, including the majority of so-called "intellectuals," will continue to suffer the delusion that the material world is somehow separate from the one who perceives it, and the object is separate from the subject.

All great spiritual traditions share this in common: at their root is a methodology of meditation that infuses more and more Consciousness into every atom of the nervous system, for these atoms are in fact atoms of Consciousness. This method of meditation is not an out-of-body experience, but a hyper-embodied experience, penetrating and finally dissolving the duality, without denying its appearance.

We say, "without denying the appearance," because, while there is only One, the Many appear in the effulgence of the One. Unity bubbles over as diversity, while remaining One. There is only Consciousness, but it manifests as Subject and Object. Those who try to erase the appearance and live "as though" all is the same, get trapped in an ignorance even deeper than those who live in duality. 

The truly "enlightened" are not those who deny the appearance, but those who know how to dance as Two while remaining at rest in One. They are not just teachers, they are shamans, who actually do what they teach. They dwell in the world, but not of the world. And for the greater good of all sentient creatures, they work with illusions, masks, and appearances, without being trapped by them.

Jesus was a master Shaman. He changed water into wine, multiplied loaves, and resurrected the body. Whether you take these "miracles" as real or symbolic, you arrive at the same truth about the world. And Jesus was not alone.

Those like him have walked among us too. Spiritually, they are elder brothers and sisters, not "masters." They irradiate the ordinary with extraordinary power, and illuminate the shadowed world of forms with the formless light of the Self. We may praise and revere them as Other. But their timeless message is always the same: "Do not worship me. Do not believe in me. Become what I Am."

Why Waste Your Life Believing?


Why waste your life believing

that the sun is above,

the earth below, only to

discover too late, too late

that starlight gushes from every nerve

just at the spot in your body

where dancing begins?


Why travel from here to there?

All journeys are over

but the deepening of now.


Your heart beat is the shaman's drum.

Don't move: be moved.

One treasure is left to find:

the light you were

before you started the search.


Spring is an intuition crinkled in cocoons:

your laughter can do something about that.

Ferns make fists all Winter,

waiting for your deeper breath.


Forget everything you’ve been taught

and take some responsibility!

Fall on your face in the blackest soil

among the murmuring golden bulbs

and confess, “This is all incomprehensible!”


Lay claim to the Kingdom of Wonder.

Fall down, fall down.

Touch heaven with your knees.


When you discover that
each breath is nectar

indescribably sweet,

and the space between

your heartbeats is

the silence between stars,

and the one who

encircles you with

unfathomable compassion

is inside,

and the luminous hollow

of each nerve in your body

echoes with the sound

that created all things,

then you are rich.

You need nothing.

You can begin to live

in the moonlight,

the sensation of dew

on bare feet,

the smell of honeysuckle,

the sparkling transparency

of this perishing moment.

A Message To You Healthy Folks

You had a dimple of tenderness

on top of your skull

when you were a baby.

Then bones closed over and sealed you in,

safe from the whirl of night,

its whispering invitation to dissolve.

But in some of us the portal didn't close.

The silken sap that oozes through our vertebrae

gets spooled back to its galaxy.

Our breath is a broken rosary of crystal planets

spilling into an empty glass.

Each sigh is unconditional surrender.

A black hole tethers our attention to no thing.

The glittering gyre of darkness reels us in,

dragging our roots toward fire like upside-down roses.

Yet our wounds connect us,

letting beams of moonlight in.

And when we break wide open,

one endless ray flows through all bodies.

Don't be hasty to harden your bruise

and proclaim yourself a healer.

Bruises are windows.

Be an opening, not a knower.

I know that it’s voguish to say

you are of the earth,

but for those who have no choice,

only half a Self dwells here.

The rest is there, watching what sleeps,

breathing uncreated warmth down to

the buried bulbs of a famished heart.

This flesh is made of fallen offerings.

The petals are edible.

And we know the Truth, not by thinking,

but by its fragrance.

Photo by Kristy

Why is Loitering a Crime?

"I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass." (Walt Whitman)

For Whitman, the bottom line was poetry. Whitman, Keats, Shelly and Wordsworth spent quality time mindfully loafing. Out of their moments of non-doing came sublime literature.

For Jesus and the poets of the Bible, the bottom line was prophecy. Fasting in the desert, they also fasted from work. But their vision changed civilizations.

Even scientists practice periods of intentional loafing. Einstein's theory of relativity had its inception in a daydream, when he imagined what it would be like to slide down a beam of sunlight.

In our corporate culture, the bottom line isn't poetry or prophecy, but profit. In many American cities, you can get arrested for loitering. Daydreaming is considered a waste of time. Loafing is no longer a respectable spiritual practice, but a threat to monthly production quotas, and the national GNP.

What happened on BP's oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is a direct result of corporate thinking. Maintain frenetic productivity each minute of every hour. Take whatever short-cuts you need to meet production quotas. Don't stop for a single moment to listen, reflect, and ask, "What the hell are we really accomplishing? Is this happiness?" Even the multi-millionaire president of the company ends up whining, "I want my life back."

Corporate America wants your children to become diligent, productive little drones who never practice the subversive art of mindful loafing. They are already learning this lifestyle in their schools. The oligarchs who run this country know that, if we spend time loafing, we might actually become aware. 

God forbid the worker bee doubt the fate of the hive. God forbid we come to realize, in a precious moment of loitering, that our cultural hive is bound to collapse, because it is based on a contradiction.

Our philosophical, religious and literary heritage teaches us that happiness is the fruit of simplicity, temperance and the renunciation of gross materialism. Yet our economy runs on constant spending and expansion of GNP: every citizen's duty is the accumulation of far more than anyone actually needs.

Clearly, the solution to our social, political, and environmental problems is a new lifestyle: a lifestyle of simpler, more sustainable earth-friendly living. Yet the fact is, if we ever stopped buying extraneous junk, redundant technologies, and more shoes than we could wear out in a lifetime, our economy would collapse.

You really don't want to think about this, do you? Better get back to work. Besides, if you start asking too many questions, you might get arrested for loitering.


One breath
gently rends the veil
between the vision
and its nerve,
who you are and who
you thought you were.
Just pay a little more
attention to what flows
in and out.
A new creation begins
the moment you stop
blaming others.
They are not responsible
for this body,
which was whirling,
glittering in distant stars
before you were conceived.
Now walk softly
on the planet,
not like an owner
but a guest.
If you don't know how
to become hollow,
how can you be filled with music?

Photo by Neil Dickie

I Am The Wine

How are "self-help" and "self-control" working out for you? For me, they are illusions. "I" am not very helpful to "me." I can no more control my life than a falling leaf controls the breeze. But I can surrender. I can sink. I can fall into the Grace of the Divine.

As I get older, I plunge deeper into the sap, traveling down the stem, drowning in the seed. There I explode into a scarlet blossom of death, the one you see in your garden.

I am the wine you love to smell in those invisible breaths of pollen. I make the medicine drip from berries in your pineal gland. It clatters down a string of pearls in your vertebrae toward the place your songs come from. What kisses happen in the jasmine pistil at the center of your hypothalamus? I have seen them. They set off thunder under your breast bone.

I know what the sound of unseen wings in your heart means, and how often stars make wishes on your fingertips. I scent what inebriates the wind rummaging through your garden at midnight. If you knew what I know, which is almost nothing, yet much tastier than the knowledge of philosophers, you would not take a single footstep for granted.

Removing your shoes, your graduation gown, your underwear, you would reel glistening softly through the forest tonight, yes tonight! letting the golden moon make honey of your silence.

Photo by Peter Sheffler

Fragments from a Gnostic Text


They don't teach this in schools,

the secret science of names.

You learn it from your breath.

What you know without knowing how you know it

through the smokeless blue flame in your sternum.

How to change the name of your wound to

"Swarthy River of the Mother's Grace,"

and the name of your sorrow

to "Fragrance of Falling."

Learn how to name the kiss that created you

from a well of parted lips.

Learn to stop signifying emptiness

and call midnight "Undulation of the Panther."

Learn sacred wariness, how her silence stalks you.

Learn that the absence of a story is the seed of light,

sprouting a blade whose fierceness is defined

by what is honed away, 

the fin of your pelvis slicing green oceans 

of moonlight before your conception. 

Learn that the Lord did not create this garden. 

You did, with Adam and Lilith,

making up strange words, exciting the laser

in your vagus nerve to burn the original hole

in your bones, using the brilliance

that creates by destroying, 

not through meaning but through sound, 

the faint but piercing Hum of blackness 

that maddens honey-making gods

until they spill the ointment of prophecy 

on your soft naked crown. Now try it.

Invent a Word pregnant with a New Creation,

a name that is magic precisely because

it has never been spoken.

Elves and jinns know how, so do babies

babbling bija mantras of ineffable power

from the unwritten scriptures hidden in their

sacred physiology of hieroglyphic neurons. 

Um, Phwat, Bhang, Mama, Da.

Well done, child!

Belias, Archon of the Abyss,

Baoumiel, Angel of Your Left Nipple,

Oroorothos, Ruling Power of the Bellybutton,

Shaktarathel, Keeper of Your Missing Rib,

Sandolfon, Harp of Unending Exhalation.

The broken measuring cup of your mouth

contains a terrible sea.

You learn that the true Word is listening.

You name the darkest fear

by simply hearing its fingers scratch

the glass of your sleeplessness.

You hear tuskéd chthonic species groan

from crystal shadows of extinction.

You hear dangerous saints and mystic criminals

singing voluptuous praise songs 

from the silence that tried to erase them.

You hear the primordial heresy of

countless zeros echoing the One.

And if you listen truly, you hear

the background sigh of the Big Bang

in each atom of your body.

You learn it from your breath.

Sometimes forgetting the Name

is remembering God.  

Photo by Peter Sheffler



Pilgrim, isn't it time 
to depart from the kingdom 
of fear? Time to begin 
your journey over the ocean 
of surrender.
This body is a frail boat,
but your vast sail 
unfurls before the breath 
of the Beloved.
Whether the night is
or clustered with stars,
this is a journey 
of safe-keeping.
You move through waves
of dream and sleep
under the boundless dome
of the Mother's silence.


Embodied dough.
Lump of anger moist
with of grief and pain.
Not gluten-free either.
Stiff beaten marrow, cold
sourdough folds
of muscle and cruor.
Knead it, punch it down.
Let it rise.
Punch it down again.
Expand into a brown-gold
beam of dawn
permeated with the breath
of wheat fields.
Cook over coals of gratitude
until the fragrance melts
your heart and fills
the temple of your bones.
You are baked.
You are the golden loaf.
As long as you share this body
each crumb has the flavor
of the whole sun.
You didn’t get in this oven
to be a lump of dough,
to stay sticky and heavy
with anger, grief, and trauma.
You’re here to get kneaded.
You're the ancestral recipe
for good bread.
So punch it down and let it
rise again, filled
with an exhalation
of thanksgiving.
And when it's finished say,
"Take, eat, this is my body,
the golden loaf given for you,
clustered with galaxies,
buttery with stars."
Then tear yourself into little
pieces and feed multitudes.